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Daniel Tonetti, Jagdish Bhatnagar and L. Dade Lunsford

Object

The design of the Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion facilitates stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) on cervical spine targets provided that the target itself is located superior to the standard G stereotactic head frame base ring and does not move. This study was designed to measure potential deviations of targets in the upper cervical spine while using the currently available Leksell Coordinate Frame G.

Methods

A commercially available skull-and–cervical spine model was adapted for SRS using the Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion. The Leksell Coordinate Frame G was attached to the model, and both CT and fluoroscopic imaging were performed to determine the potential for target deviation at standard Gamma Knife treatment angles of 70°, 90°, and 110°. In addition, target deviations observed at various heights of the patient positioning table were analyzed using a pair of orthogonal fluoroscopic images obtained at a standard 90° gamma angle and compared with target position as it relates to a reference bed height of 4.5 cm.

Results

An examination of multiple radiopaque targets embedded in or affixed to the model showed target deviations ranging from as low as 3.53 mm at the medial occiput–C1 junction to 15.56 mm at the C3–4 level during 70° extension. Target deviations at 110° flexion relative to targets on a 90° CT scan included deviations ranging from 0.58 mm at the medial occiput–C1 junction to 13.32 mm at the medial C3–4 level.

Relative to targets observed at the Perfexion table height of 4.5 cm, target deviation at a table height of 3 cm varied from 0.44 to 5.26 mm. At a table height of 5.5 cm, target deviation varied from 0.44 to 3.60 mm, and at a maximum height of 5.8 cm, target deviation varied from 0.62 to 4.30 mm.

Conclusions

Target deviation grossly exceeded clinical tolerance and was greater the farther the distance between the cranial base and the cervical spine target. Simple and reproducible methods that allow SRS centers to immobilize the patient's cervical spine using the currently available model G head frame are necessary to increase the range of targets that can be treated safely using the Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion.

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Daniel A. Tonetti, William J. Ares, David O. Okonkwo and Paul A. Gardner

OBJECTIVE

Large interhemispheric subdural hematomas (iSDHs) causing falx syndrome are rare; therefore, a paucity of data exists regarding the outcomes of contemporary management of iSDH. There is a general consensus among neurosurgeons that large iSDHs with neurological deficits represent a particular treatment challenge with generally poor outcomes. Thus, radiological and clinical outcomes of surgical and nonsurgical management for iSDH bear further study, which is the aim of this report.

METHODS

A prospectively collected, single-institution trauma database was searched for patients with isolated traumatic iSDH causing falx syndrome in the period from January 2008 to January 2018. Information on demographic and radiological characteristics, serial neurological examinations, clinical and radiological outcomes, and posttreatment complications was collected and tallied. The authors subsequently dichotomized patients by management strategy to evaluate clinical outcome and 30-day survival.

RESULTS

Twenty-five patients (0.4% of those with intracranial injuries, 0.05% of those with trauma) with iSDH and falx syndrome represented the study cohort. The average age was 73.4 years, and most patients (23 [92%] of 25) were taking anticoagulants or antiplatelet medications. Six patients were managed nonoperatively, and 19 patients underwent craniotomy for iSDH evacuation; of the latter patients, 17 (89.5%) had improvement in or resolution of motor deficits postoperatively. There were no instances of venous infarction, reaccumulation, or infection after evacuation. In total, 9 (36%) of the 25 patients died within 30 days, including 6 (32%) of the 19 who had undergone craniotomy and 3 (50%) of the 6 who had been managed nonoperatively. Patients who died within 30 days were significantly more likely to experience in-hospital neurological deterioration prior to surgery (83% vs 15%, p = 0.0095) and to be comatose prior to surgery (100% vs 23%, p = 0.0031). The median modified Rankin Scale score of surgical patients who survived hospitalization (13 patients) was 1 at a mean follow-up of 22.1 months.

CONCLUSIONS

iSDHs associated with falx syndrome can be evacuated safely and effectively, and prompt surgical evacuation prior to neurological deterioration can improve outcomes. In this study, craniotomy for iSDH evacuation proved to be a low-risk strategy that was associated with generally good outcomes, though appropriately selected patients may fare well without evacuation.

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Ali Kooshkabadi, L. Dade Lunsford, Daniel Tonetti, John C. Flickinger and Douglas Kondziolka

Object

The surgical management of disabling tremor has gained renewed vigor with the availability of deep brain stimulation. However, in the face of an aging population of patients with increasing surgical comorbidities, noninvasive approaches for tremor management are needed. The authors' purpose was to study the technique and results of stereotactic radiosurgery performed in the era of MRI targeting.

Methods

The authors evaluated outcomes in 86 patients (mean age 71 years; number of procedures 88) who underwent a unilateral Gamma Knife thalamotomy (GKT) for tremor during a 15-year period that spanned the era of MRI-based target selection (1996–2011). Symptoms were related to essential tremor in 48 patients (19 age ≥ 80 years and 3 age ≥ 90 years), Parkinson disease in 27 patients (11 age ≥ 80 years [1 patient underwent bilateral procedures]), and multiple sclerosis in 11 patients (1 patient underwent bilateral procedures). A single 4-mm isocenter was used to deliver a maximum dose of 140 Gy to the posterior-inferior region of the nucleus ventralis intermedius. The Fahn-Tolosa-Marin clinical tremor rating scale was used to grade tremor, handwriting, and ability to drink. The median follow-up was 23 months.

Results

The mean tremor score was 3.28 ± 0.79 before and 1.81 ± 1.15 after (p < 0.0001) GKT; the mean handwriting score was 2.78 ± 0.82 and 1.62 ± 1.04, respectively (p < 0.0001); and the mean drinking score was 3.14 ± 0.78 and 1.80 ± 1.15, respectively (p < 0.0001). After GKT, 57 patients (66%) showed improvement in all 3 scores, 11 patients (13%) in 2 scores, and 2 patients (2%) in just 1 score. In 16 patients (19%) there was a failure to improve in any score. Two patients developed a temporary contralateral hemiparesis, 1 patient noted dysphagia, and 1 sustained facial sensory loss.

Conclusions

Gamma Knife thalamotomy in the MRI era was a safe and effective noninvasive surgical strategy for medically refractory tremor in the elderly or those with contraindications to deep brain stimulation or stereotactic radiofrequency (thermal) thalamotomy.

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Seyed H. Mousavi, Ajay Niranjan, Berkcan Akpinar, Marshall Huang, Hideyuki Kano, Daniel Tonetti, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

In the era of MRI, vestibular schwannomas are often recognized when patients still have excellent hearing. Besides success in tumor control rate, hearing preservation is a main goal in any procedure for management of this population. The authors evaluated whether modified auditory subclassification prior to radiosurgery could predict long-term hearing outcome in this population.

METHODS

The authors reviewed a quality assessment registry that included the records of 1134 vestibular schwannoma patients who had undergone stereotactic radiosurgery during a 15-year period (1997–2011). The authors identified 166 patients who had Gardner-Robertson Class I hearing prior to stereotactic radiosurgery. Fifty-three patients were classified as having Class I-A (no subjective hearing loss) and 113 patients as Class I-B (subjective hearing loss). Class I-B patients were further stratified into Class I-B1 (pure tone average ≤ 10 dB in comparison with the contralateral ear; 56 patients), and I-B2 (> 10 dB compared with the normal ear; 57 patients). At a median follow-up of 65 months, the authors evaluated patients' hearing outcomes and tumor control.

RESULTS

The median pure tone average elevations after stereotactic radiosurgery were 5 dB, 13.5 dB, and 28 dB in Classes I-A, I-B1, and I-B2, respectively. The median declines in speech discrimination scores after stereotactic radiosurgery were 0% for Class I-A (p = 0.33), 8% for Class I-B1 (p < 0.0001), and 40% for Class I-B2 (p < 0.0001). Serviceable hearing preservation rates were 98%, 73%, and 33% for Classes I-A, I-B1, and I-B2, respectively. Gardner-Robertson Class I hearing was preserved in 87%, 43%, and 5% of patients in Classes I-A, I-B1, and I-B2, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Long-term hearing preservation was significantly better if radiosurgery was performed prior to subjective hearing loss. In patients with subjective hearing loss, the difference in pure tone average between the affected ear and the unaffected ear was an important factor in long-term hearing preservation.

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Daniel Tonetti, Hideyuki Kano, Gregory Bowden, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

Object

The presentation for patients with arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) is often intracranial hemorrhage; for women, this frequently occurs during the prime childbearing years. Although previous studies have addressed the risk for AVM hemorrhage during pregnancy, such studies have not assessed the risk for hemorrhage among women who become pregnant during the latency interval between stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and documented obliteration of the lesion. The authors sought to evaluate the risk for hemorrhage in patients who become pregnant during the latency interval after SRS.

Methods

This single-institution retrospective analysis reviewed the authors' experience with Gamma Knife SRS during 1987–2012. During this time, 253 women of childbearing age (median age 30 years, range 15–40 years) underwent SRS for intracranial AVM. The median target volume was 3.9 cm3 (range 0.1–27.1 cm3), and the median marginal dose was 20 Gy (range 14–38 Gy). For all patients, the date of AVM obliteration was recorded and the latency interval was calculated. Information about subsequent pregnancies and/or bleeding events during the latency interval was retrieved from the medical records and supplemented by telephone contact.

Results

AVM obliteration was confirmed by MRI or angiography at a median follow-up time of 39.3 months (range 10–174 months). There were 828.7 patient-years of follow-up within the latency interval between SRS and the date of confirmed AVM obliteration. Among nonpregnant women, 20 hemorrhages occurred before AVM obliteration, yielding an annual hemorrhage rate of 2.5% for nonpregnant women during the latency interval. Among women who became pregnant during the latency interval, 2 hemorrhages occurred over the course of 18 pregnancies, yielding an annual hemorrhage rate of 11.1% for women who become pregnant during the latency interval. For the 2 pregnant patients who experienced hemorrhage, the bleeding occurred during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Conclusions

The authors present the first series of data for women with intracranial AVMs who became pregnant during the latency interval after SRS. Hemorrhage during the latency interval occurred at an annual rate of 2.5% for nonpregnant women and 11.1% for pregnant women. The data suggest that pregnancy might be a risk factor for AVM hemorrhage during the interval between SRS and AVM obliteration. However, this suggestion is not statistically significant because only 18 patients in the study population became pregnant during the latency interval. To mitigate any increased risk for hemorrhage, patients should consider deferring pregnancy until treatment conclusion and AVM obliteration.

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Daniel A. Tonetti, Bradley A. Gross, Kyle M. Atcheson, Brian T. Jankowitz, Hideyuki Kano, Edward A. Monaco III, Ajay Niranjan, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

The authors of this study found that, given the latency period required for arteriovenous malformation (AVM) obliteration after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), a study with limited follow-up cannot assess the benefit of SRS for unruptured AVMs.

METHODS

The authors reviewed their institutional experience with “ARUBA (A Randomized Trial of Unruptured Brain Arteriovenous Malformations)–eligible” AVMs treated with SRS between 1987 and 2016, with the primary outcome defined as stroke (ischemic or hemorrhagic) or death (AVM related or AVM unrelated). Patients with at least 3 years of follow-up in addition to those who experienced stroke or died during the latency period were included. Secondary outcome measures included obliteration rates, patients with new seizure disorders, and those with new focal deficits without stroke.

RESULTS

Of 233 patients included in this study, 32 had a stroke or died after SRS over the mean 8.4-year follow-up (14%). Utilizing the 10% stroke or death rate at a mean 2.8-year follow-up for untreated AVMs in ARUBA, the rate in the authors’ study is significantly lower than that anticipated at the 8.4-year follow-up for an untreated cohort (14% vs 30%, p = 0.0003). Notwithstanding obliteration, in this study, annualized rates of hemorrhage and stroke or death after 3 years following SRS were 0.4% and 0.8%, respectively. The overall obliteration rate was 72%; new seizure disorders, temporary new focal deficits without stroke, and permanent new focal deficits without stroke occurred in 2% of patients each.

CONCLUSIONS

After a sensible follow-up period exceeding the latency period, there is a lower rate of stroke/death for patients with treated, unruptured AVMs with SRS than for patients with untreated AVMs.

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Daniel A. Tonetti, Bradley A. Gross, Brian T. Jankowitz, Hideyuki Kano, Edward A. Monaco III, Ajay Niranjan, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

Aggressive dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs) with cortical venous drainage (CVD) are known for their relatively high risk of recurrent neurological events or hemorrhage. However, recent natural history literature has indicated that nonaggressive dAVFs with CVD have a significantly lower prospective risk of hemorrhage. These nonaggressive dAVFs are typically diagnosed because of symptomatic headache, pulsatile tinnitus, or ocular symptoms, as in low-risk dAVFs. Therefore, the viability of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) as a treatment for this lesion subclass should be investigated.

METHODS

The authors evaluated their institutional experience with SRS for dAVFs with CVD for the period from 1991 to 2016, assessing angiographic outcomes and posttreatment hemorrhage rates. They subsequently pooled their results with those published in the literature and stratified the results based on the mode of clinical presentation.

RESULTS

In an institutional cohort of 42 dAVFs with CVD treated using SRS, there were no complications or hemorrhages after treatment in 19 patients with nonaggressive dAVFs, but there was 1 radiation-induced complication and 1 hemorrhage among the 23 patients with aggressive dAVFs. In pooling these cases with 155 additional cases from the literature, the authors found that the hemorrhage rate after SRS was significantly lower among the patients with nonaggressive dAVFs (0% vs 6.8%, p = 0.003). Similarly, the number of radiation-related complications was 0/124 in nonaggressive dAVF cases versus 6/73 in aggressive dAVF cases (p = 0.001). The annual rate of hemorrhage after SRS for aggressive fistulas was 3.0% over 164.5 patient-years, whereas none of the nonaggressive fistulas bled after radiosurgery over 279.4 patient-years of follow-up despite the presence of CVD.

CONCLUSIONS

Cortical venous drainage is thought to be a significant risk factor in all dAVFs. In the institutional experience described here, SRS proved to be a low-risk strategy associated with a very low risk of subsequent hemorrhage or radiation-related complications in nonaggressive dAVFs with CVD.

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Eric Reseland, Nitin Agarwal, Michael M. McDowell, Jeremy G. Stone, Daniel A. Tonetti, Issam A. Awad, Charles J. Hodge, Karen S. Koenig, Allan H. Friedman and Robert M. Friedlander

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Hideyuki Kano, John C. Flickinger, Aya Nakamura, Rachel C. Jacobs, Daniel A. Tonetti, Craig Lehocky, Kyung-Jae Park, Huai-che Yang, Ajay Niranjan and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

The management of large-volume arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) remains challenging. The authors retrospectively tested the hypothesis that AVM obliteration rates can be improved by increasing the percentage volume of an AVM that receives a minimal threshold dose of radiation.

METHODS

In 1992, the authors prospectively began to stage anatomical components in order to deliver higher single doses to AVMs > 15 cm3 in volume. Since that time 60 patients with large AVMs have undergone volume-staged SRS (VS-SRS). The median interval between the first stage and the second stage was 4.5 months (2.8–13.8 months). The median target volume was 11.6 cm3 (range 4.3–26 cm3) in the first-stage SRS and 10.6 cm3 (range 2.8–33.7 cm3) in the second-stage SRS. The median margin dose was 16 Gy (range 13–18 Gy) for both SRS stages.

RESULTS

AVM obliteration after the initial two staged volumetric SRS treatments was confirmed by MRI alone in 4 patients and by angiography in 11 patients at a median follow-up of 82 months (range 0.4–206 months) after VS-SRS. The post–VS-SRS obliteration rates on angiography were 4% at 3 years, 13% at 4 years, 23% at 5 years, and 27% at 10 years. In multivariate analysis, only ≥ 20-Gy volume coverage was significantly associated with higher total obliteration rates confirmed by angiography. When the margin dose is ≥ 17 Gy and the 20-Gy SRS volume included ≥ 63% of the total target volume, the angiographically confirmed obliteration rates increased to 61% at 5 years and 70% at 10 years.

CONCLUSIONS

The outcomes of prospective VS-SRS for large AVMs can be improved by prescribing an AVM margin dose of ≥ 17 Gy and adding additional isocenters so that ≥ 63% of the internal AVM dose receives more than 20 Gy.

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Kyung-Jae Park, Hideyuki Kano, Aditya Iyer, Xiaomin Liu, Daniel A. Tonetti, Craig Lehocky, Andrew Faramand, Ajay Niranjan, John C. Flickinger, Douglas Kondziolka and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

The authors of this study evaluate the long-term outcomes of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for cavernous sinus meningioma (CSM).

METHODS

The authors retrospectively assessed treatment outcomes 5–18 years after SRS in 200 patients with CSM. The median patient age was 57 years (range 22–83 years). In total, 120 (60%) patients underwent Gamma Knife SRS as primary management, 46 (23%) for residual tumors, and 34 (17%) for recurrent tumors after one or more surgical procedures. The median tumor target volume was 7.5 cm3 (range 0.1–37.3 cm3), and the median margin dose was 13.0 Gy (range 10–20 Gy).

RESULTS

Tumor volume regressed in 121 (61%) patients, was unchanged in 49 (25%), and increased over time in 30 (15%) during a median imaging follow-up of 101 months. Actuarial tumor control rates at the 5-, 10-, and 15-year follow-ups were 92%, 84%, and 75%, respectively. Of the 120 patients who had undergone SRS as a primary treatment (primary SRS), tumor progression was observed in 14 (11.7%) patients at a median of 48.9 months (range 4.8–120.0 months) after SRS, and actuarial tumor control rates were 98%, 93%, 85%, and 85% at the 1-, 5-, 10-, and 15-year follow-ups post-SRS. A history of tumor progression after microsurgery was an independent predictor of an unfavorable response to radiosurgery (p = 0.009, HR = 4.161, 95% CI 1.438–12.045). Forty-four (26%) of 170 patients who had presented with at least one cranial nerve (CN) deficit improved after SRS. Development of new CN deficits after initial microsurgical resection was an unfavorable factor for improvement after SRS (p = 0.014, HR = 0.169, 95% CI 0.041–0.702). Fifteen (7.5%) patients experienced permanent CN deficits without evidence of tumor progression at a median onset of 9 months (range 2.3–85 months) after SRS. Patients with larger tumor volumes (≥ 10 cm3) were more likely to develop permanent CN complications (p = 0.046, HR = 3.629, 95% CI 1.026–12.838). Three patients (1.5%) developed delayed pituitary dysfunction after SRS.

CONCLUSIONS

This long-term study showed that Gamma Knife radiosurgery provided long-term tumor control for most patients with CSM. Patients who underwent SRS for progressive tumors after prior microsurgery had a greater chance of tumor growth than the patients without prior surgery or those with residual tumor treated after microsurgery.